Claims Gen Bajwa had proposed a name for his successor other than sitting Army Chief General Asim Munir: Nawaz wanted early elections.
ISLAMABAD - Senator Irfan Siddiqui made a disclosure on Sunday by claiming that former Chief of Army Staff General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa had sought another extension beyond November 2022 but was flatly denied by the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.
General Bajwa had been seeking an extension for another term and that some senior leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had also advised Nawaz Sharif to consider the request, he said while talking to a select group of reporters here.
“However, Sharif remained steadfast in his belief that there should be no question of even one day’s extension,” said PML-N Senator Siddiqui, a close confidant to former three-time prime minister Sharif.
Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa had retired on November 29 last year after completing his two terms including an extension for three years. In November 2016, then prime minister Sharif had appointed him commander of the Pakistan Army for a period of three years.
Senator Siddiqui said that General Bajwa had later proposed a name for his successor other than the sitting Army Chief General Asim Munir. But the government asserted itself to get the senior most officer elevated to the position, he also said.
He said that even in 2019, Sharif was vehemently against the extension of General Bajwa and the associated legislation. “Immense pressure from some members of Muslim League (N) persuaded him to accept the decision as a temporary measure,” he said. He added that Sharif to this day, considered the extension to have been a wrong decision.
Academician-turned politician Siddiqui further revealed that ex-premier Sharif was not in favor of bringing a no-confidence motion against then prime minister Imran Khan, despite the widespread public discontentment with his government. “Instead, Sharif believed that if allowed to continue, Khan’s government would ultimately self-destruct under the weight of its own anti-people policies.” He went on to explain that it was only after a great deal of cajoling by senior leaders of PML-N and other parties that Sharif agreed with the condition that, after Imran’s removal, the Pakistan Democratic Movement(PDM) led government would enact necessary legislation only to resign immediately. It was also decided that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would resign in May last year to pave way for general elections in September 2022.
“Elections were offered to Khan on a plate but he missed out this golden opportunity due to his stubbornness,” he said. He also said that the bullying tactics of Khan forced the incumbent ruling alliance to revise its plans. Senator Siddiqui shared that Senior Vice President PML-N Maryam Nawaz, like her father Mian Nawaz Sharif, was also opposed to the continuation of the PDM government after the successful no-confidence motion. In fact, on several occasions, Maryam expressed her dissatisfaction with the situation, stating “Why should we carry this basket of filth on our heads.” Mian Nawaz Sharif made his stance clear that PM Shahbaz Sharif should resign by May 25. “Everything had been settled.”